The defending champion will not retain his crown. The Warriors took a slap in Game 6 against the Lakers (122-101) and let the Los Angeles franchise slip into the conference finals. Lebron James' teammates will challenge the Nuggets. In the East, Miami also avoided a Game 7 by finishing the job against the Knicks (96-92). The Heat will face either the Sixers or Celtics in the conference finals.
While waiting for Game 7 in the East, the sensation of the night and even of these playoffs, with the surprise elimination, in the first round, of Giannis Antetokounmpo's Milwaukee Bucks, is the setback suffered by the Warriors.
LeBron James doesn't have much of the triple-double
First, because it is historic - under the Steve Kerr era that began in 2014/2015, it is the first time they are eliminated by a team from the West, that is to say before the grand final - then because few would have imagined a month ago to see the Lakers, then shaky and forced to go through the playoffs, achieve this performance.
But L.A. no longer has the same face. Behind the stainless LeBron James, still giant and omnipresent (30 pts at 10/14, 9 assists, 9 rebounds), and the indispensable Anthony Davis (17 pts, 20 rebounds) recovered from the blow received at a temple 48 hours earlier, the purple and gold have become a formidable team, in a few weeks. The winter transfer window was successful, like D'Angelo Russell (19 pts) still precious.
Crisis in Golden State, the Lakers dream of the 18th title
Golden State, which aspired to continue its dynasty revived last year, is now going through a questioning, even if its elimination is not unworthy. Because these Lakers, resilient and boosted with confidence, have arguments to dream of a possible record 18th title.
The last one was in 2020, in the anti-Covid bubble of Orlando. And had been obtained against Miami, which would see itself taking revenge. In the meantime, consistency is paramount: this is the third time in four years that the Heat has reached the finals in the East.